‘Timeless’: Every History-Altering Time Travel Change, Ranked from Jesse James to James Bond (Photos)

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Not every history-altering time travel ripple is equally devastating

 

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The hazard of traveling through time attempting to preserve history in “Timeless” is the many opportunities to mess up.

The show’s protagonists, Lucy (Abigail Spencer), Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter), are always one step behind villain Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic) as he gallivants across American history. Flynn’s ultimate goal: destroy the Illuminati-like organization known as Rittenhouse. He’s willing to ruin any historical moment to do it, and while the time travel team attempts to stop him, they’re usually not completely successful.

Even when the trio, which Rufus dubs the “Time Team,” thwart Flynn’s plans, it’s a Pyrrhic victory. Somebody usually screws things up such that history is altered, even if the change is subtle. And a few key players in our timeline have been, uh, killed, either accidentally or not so much. The good news is that America isn’t destroyed yet, but the alterations are piling up.

 

Here is every single change “Timeless” has made to the history of America, in order from most mundane to most widespread.

14. A nuke goes missing but no one cares
Flynn heads to Las Vegas in an attempt to steal a nuclear weapon. The Time Team worries he’s going to set it off (or later give it to the Nazis), but Flynn just uses it to power his time machine. Apparently the U.S. misplacing a nuclear warhead in the 1960s had no lasting repercussions.

13. Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight crashes
In 1920s Paris, Flynn shoots down the Spirit of St. Louis just miles before Lindbergh is set to land in Paris and complete the first solo transatlantic flight in history. Nothing much changes, though — Lindbergh’s fame is delayed by a few weeks after the crash, but he still shows up to claim his fame and fortune. And he still becomes a vocal Nazi sympathizer, despite Lucy’s best efforts to convince him Nazis are not so good.

 

Media: Los Angeles Times

Here is every single change “Timeless” has made to the history of America, in order from most mundane to most widespread.

14. A nuke goes missing but no one cares
Flynn heads to Las Vegas in an attempt to steal a nuclear weapon. The Time Team worries he’s going to set it off (or later give it to the Nazis), but Flynn just uses it to power his time machine. Apparently the U.S. misplacing a nuclear warhead in the 1960s had no lasting repercussions.

13. Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight crashes
In 1920s Paris, Flynn shoots down the Spirit of St. Louis just miles before Lindbergh is set to land in Paris and complete the first solo transatlantic flight in history. Nothing much changes, though — Lindbergh’s fame is delayed by a few weeks after the crash, but he still shows up to claim his fame and fortune. And he still becomes a vocal Nazi sympathizer, despite Lucy’s best efforts to convince him Nazis are not so good.

12. Al Capone never goes to prison
With a careful bit of evidence destruction, Flynn prevents Eliot Ness and the Untouchables from making their tax evasion case against Capone. Ness winds up murdered more than 20 years too early. Still, the Time Team still manages to bring down Capone without much additional bloodshed, so not much goes differently. That Kevin Costner/Sean Connery movie is presumably a little different, though.

11. Lucy gets a random fiancé (who saves Rufus)
The changes in Lucy’s life are pretty widespread when she gets home from the first mission. She loses a sister but gains a fiancé she’s never met. It’s mostly just awkward, and then Lucy doesn’t talk to him for the rest of the season. Until, that is, he’s expedient for plot purposes in the finale.

10. Flynn saves his half-brother from bees
Flynn and pals attempted to sabotage the Apollo 11 moon landing from Mission Control, but were stopped along the way by the Time Team. In the meantime, Flynn slipped off, found his own mother, and saved his half-brother he’d never met from dying of anaphylactic shock as a child. This one doesn’t have many ripples, but it does show that Flynn is sometimes a good dude.

9. Bonnie and Clyde die at a cabin and not in their car
After accidentally interfering with a Barrow Gang bank robbery, Lucy and Wyatt hang out with Bonnie and Clyde for a bit. The time traveler interference changes how the pair meet their grisly end, with a posse of police descending on them in their cabin, rather than ambushing them on the road. The change robbed Whiskey Pete’s Casino in Nevada of the famous bullet-riddled car the bandits originally died in.

8. Lucy rewrites Texas history
Flynn rewrites history by killing Lt. Col. William Travis at the Alamo before he can complete his famous letter. Lucy takes up the task of penning a document key to Texas history and, basically, makes it up as she goes along. Everyone, including Davy Crockett and James Bowie, still dies at the Alamo and Texas is still a thing, so the overall effect is minimal.

7. John Wilkes Booth isn’t the Lincoln assassin
Flynn attempts to help John Wilkes Booth be even more successful in assassinating Abraham Lincoln, adding Army General Ulysses S. Grant, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. The Time Team stops the additional murders, and Flynn only succeeds in being the guy who offs Lincoln instead of Booth.

6. Benedict Arnold dies in America
With the Time Team helping, Flynn grabs Benedict Arnold, a founding member of the evil Rittenhouse organization, and uses him to try to assassinate the other founders. Arnold gets shot and dies, getting some traitor comeuppance. In our history, Arnold betrayed George Washington and then escaped to England to live happily ever after, dying roughly two decades later.

6. Jesse James murders people for a couple more days
Flynn returns to the Old West and interferes with Jesse James‘ assassination. He recruits James as a guide, and in the process they add a few more folks to James’ body count. James still buys it with a bullet in the back, but his historical assassin, Robert Ford, never goes on to become “the coward Robert Ford.” Because he winds up dead, too.

5. The Hindenburg erases Lucy’s sister from existence
After messing around at the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 and saving all its victims, Lucy returns home to find the show’s most meaningful time travel ripple: her cancer-suffering mother is now healthy, and her previously alive sister was never born. This one is personally devastating for Lucy and, what’s worse, nobody knows how it happened or how to fix it.

4. The Time Team stops H. H. Holmes
America’s first serial killer, H. H. Holmes, created an elaborate hotel that later was dubbed the “murder castle.” Holmes would kill people in the building throughout the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 (and before and after), but Wyatt shot and killed him three years before he would otherwise have been captured and hanged.

3. Wyatt erases a serial killer
Stealing the time machine, Wyatt and Rufus travel back to 1983 to prevent the meeting of the parents of the man who supposedly would one day kill Wyatt’s wife. The plan is to just prevent the future parents from hooking up, but Wyatt ends up causing the father’s accidental death. It’s still a success, since two of the killer’s victims are still alive in 2017 — just not Wyatt’s wife.

2. The Hindenburg doesn’t explode (until later)
The infamous disaster (“Oh, the humanity!”) doesn’t happen when the Hindenburg arrives in New York. Flynn intervenes, altering the series of freak accidents that causes a spark to ignite the airship’s huge hydrogen balloon. The upshot is the Time Team manages to save just about everyone who otherwise would have died in the disaster.

1. The team creates a new James Bond movie
In World War II, the Time Team hooks up with Sir Ian Fleming while he’s an undercover spy. Claiming to be CIA operatives, they try to stop Flynn. Fleming uses the inspiration for a Bond novel that never existed in our timeline, called “Weapons of Choice.” Time travel creates a new Bond movie, which rules.

 

 

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